Activities include playground, tennis, and bike rentals
Off-street parking in a staffed lot
Little of interest within walking distance and virtually no nightlife
Food receives mixed reviews for quality and selection
Wi-Fi is paid in all rooms and common areas
Amid dozens of of other hotels and resorts along Jamaica's north shore, the Royal DeCameron Club Caribbean is a pleasant, mid-range, beachfront hotel about 20 minutes from Ocho Rios by car. This all-inclusive hotel provides a solid list of amenities, including a wide beach, two pools, and three open-air restaurants. Decor in the hotel's 231 rooms is sparse and simple, and standard amenities include are limited to flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and mini-fridges. While there is a decent fitness room and facilities for kids, the lack of a spa or free Wi-Fi is disappointing in a hotel of this class. For a mid-range option with more amenities, ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios is nearby, but rates there will be higher.
Beachfront all-inclusive with simple style and quiet vibe
A far cry from the boisterous and rowdy all-inclusives that line Jamaica's north shore, the Royal DeCameron Club Caribbean is a simple resort with just enough features to keep guests happy. Will it win any awards for style? No. Is the vibe here impeccably chic? No. But as far as beachfront hotels go, you could do worse, especially in an area packed with dated value and mid-range options. The hotel’s common areas are pleasant and bright, with polished marble flooring, a bamboo-lined ceiling, teak furniture, and oversized sculptures in the lobby. The atmosphere here is decidedly quieter and more relaxed than many of its neighbors. There is an adult-only bar area and a dedicated Quiet Pool as well -- perks for the many couples that flock here -- but there's also a kids' club and a playground for the families that pass through as well. The nightlife scene here wraps up early, with no late-night entertainment or drinking options, which may be a drawback for some travelers.
On Jamaica's north shore, 20 minutes west of Ocho Rios by car
Situated just off resort-heavy Route A1, the hotel is within walking distance of a handful of restaurants, bars, and a small market. The 18-hole Runaway Bay Golf Course is also just a five-minute drive from the property. Ocho Rios -- the nearest tourist town, which is close to popular tourist attractions like Dunn’s River Falls and Dolphin Cove -- is more about 20 minutes east by car. Those looking to learn about one of the island's most famous former residents, Bob Marley, will find the Bob Marley Mausoleum about an hour inland -- the drive takes in some spectacular scenery as well.
The hotel is more than an hour from Sangster International Airport -- the prime hub for travelers to Jamaica. Airport transportation is not provided, leaving guests with the option to either rent a car or hire a taxi or shuttle. Rental car counters from several major agencies are available in the airport terminal. The island’s taxi service is affordable, however, it can prove expensive when relied upon as the sole mode of transportation. Alternatively, shared shuttle vans are available and can be cheaper. The hotel can also arrange trips to the airport for a fee.
Pleasant rooms with straightforward style and a few modern amenities
While rooms here are pleasant enough for a reasonably priced beachside getaway, don't expect much in the way of charm or style. Across the board, the hotel's rooms are the definition of simple. Basic mid-tone wood furniture -- including rustic slatted headboards -- and occasional pops of tropical colors do a bit to warm things up, but overall the look is straightforward. Stark white walls are hung with bright prints depicting local scenes, though they look like any of the artwork you'd find in the tourist shops across the island.
Entry-level Courtyard Rooms are small, bordering on cramped. The floor plans are smaller than those at a typical budget chain motel, with little room to walk around the single king-size bed. Garden View Cottages, the next category up, lie at the center of the property, tightly clustered together with limited privacy and no real views. Ocean Front Cottages offer identical floor plans, however, they provide lovely sea views and direct beach access. The resort’s Suites have the largest floor plans and private balconies with unobstructed views of the water or mountains. Standard amenities are fairly limited for a hotel in this category, and include flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and mini-fridges. There is no free Wi-Fi available anywhere on the property, and the daily, per-device fee gets expensive quickly.
Bathrooms are clean, adequately sized, and plain. They include tile floors and walls combine plus marble or tile countertops, but the cheap, clear, plastic shower curtain is reminiscent of a college dorm room. A shower/tub combination or walk-in shower and generic bath amenities are standard in every room. We did spot a bit of dirty grout in the shower when we visited.
A wide, clean beach, two pools, and a waterfront Asian restaurant
The Royal DeCameron Club Caribbean offers more amenities than most guests would expect. The large, clean beach, adult-only Quiet Pool, and a beachfront Asian a la carte restaurant are the most notable. Unfortunately, there is no spa, which is surprising compared to other mid-range area hotels. There are a decent number of kid-friendly features here, despite couples making up the majority of guests at the hotel. They include an outdoor playground and a kids' club -- use of both is included in the all-inclusive rates. Somewhat surprising is the expensive per-device charge for Wi-Fi at this hotel.
For a mid-size property, the beach is surprisingly large. A series of man-made jetties and breakwaters divide the entire space into smaller inlets, each with a distinct vibe. They also help to keep the strong Caribbean waves and riptides at bay, ensuring that the water just offshore is calm and swimmable. Scores of chairs and palapas provide substantial shade and seating. A water-sports counter outfits guests with free kayaks, windsurfing gear, and snorkeling equipment. Beach volleyball is also available.
Two clean pools, including an adult-only Quiet Pool
The hotel’s main pool -- situated at the center of the property -- provides easy access to the main buffet restaurant, the Souk Bar, and the beach. The area is open to all hotel guests, including children. As it frequently serves as the on-site activity pool, the atmosphere is lively. However, unlike the pools at many all-inclusives, it never rises to the level of loud or raucous. A second, Quiet Pool near the center of the property provides a more relaxed, adult-only vibe. The pool is set amid a lovely garden courtyard with a dedicated bar at one end serving a full drink menu of beer, wine, and cocktails. Dozens of plastic lounge chairs and large umbrellas line the edges of both pool decks.
Three open-air restaurants, including a waterfront Asian restaurant
The hotel is serviced by three restaurants -- one buffet-style and two dinner-only a la carte options. Pick a Pepper restaurant is the main dining space with buffet-style service for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Like many Jamaican all-inclusives, the menu is an international mix of mostly Western fare with a handful of Jamaican dishes as well. The atmosphere is casual, with a semi-open-air design that overlooks the water. At the far east end of the property, Jasmine Delta provides an a la carte menu of Asian cuisine. The open-air space is located feet from the water, with lovely views of the Caribbean Sea. Nyaming Restaurant likewise offers an a la carte menu that’s distinctly Jamaican-inspired. Overall, the food at all three restaurants receives mixed reviews for mostly inconsistent quality and a limited selection. As both a la cartes offer limited space, dinner reservations (required) fill up quickly each day -- sometimes by breakfast.
The hotel also has a few bars, including Souk Bar, an English pub, and a beachside spot with views of the sea. Keep in mind that the all-inclusive rates mean a limited selection at this hotel. While there is technically a disco on-site, it's not exactly a hotbed of activity.
Decent gym with wide selection of equipment plus bikes and tennis court
Located in a standalone building near the middle of the property, the gym offers a decent place for a well-rounded workout. The room is clean and relatively well-maintained. A dozen weightlifting and cardio machines are available -- including proper free-weight benches -- though some of the equipment isn't the most modern. The hotel also offers bike rentals and there are tennis courts, for guests seeking alternative ways to get active.